US government sues city over mosque rejection
TROY — The U.S. Justice Department is suing a Detroit suburb after a Muslim group failed to win local approval to turn a commercial building into a mosque and community center.
The government said Troy is violating a federal law that’s intended to accommodate religious groups. U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said the lawsuit is an effort to “protect the religious liberties of all people.”
Troy's zoning code requires certain setbacks from other properties. In the case of Adam Community Center, officials rejected requests for waivers. The government noted that variances wouldn’t be required if the restaurant was turned into a non-religious building.
Troy denied any discrimination Thursday and said it will aggressively defend itself. In a court filing in a related lawsuit, Troy said setback requirements protect neighbors against “adverse impacts.”